Monthly Archives: January 2012

Poorer in 2012: Increased Social Security and Income Taxes in 2012

I was paid today. That’s normally a good day, but when I saw that my paycheck was about $20 less than it was in 2011 I became angry. I decided to do a quick bit of research to make sure there were no errors. I mean that’s about $250 a year I could be giving away for nothing. After a few quick Google searches I learned that there was a tax increase in Social Security. Great.

A program that I will probably never benefit from in any way is taking more money out of my wallet. The funny thing is – the government pulls cash out of the Social Security savings fund all the time – like some sort of emergency savings fund! So right when you think, “at least the people who have paid into the system their whole life are getting something back” you realize the guys in control in Washington are stealing from you.

You might also be interested to know that the guys stealing from us in Washington aren’t tied to Social Security. Congressional pensions are seperate – they don’t pay into Social Secuirty and do not recieve any.  (They actually do pay into Social Secuirty, sorry for the bad information – most ARE wealthy enough not to have to rely on it though…)Funny the guys deciding the rest of the countries fate have almost no stake in the outcome. What incentive do they have to use the system fairly? They can tax us, use the money, and then tax us again to prop up the system a little longer. What a flawed system.

You might even be thinking – well at least we have a few rich lobbyist fighting for us “regular” guys, but you’d be wrong. Rich peopld don’t care. There is a $110,000 cap on taxable income for social security. That means a guy making $110,000 is taxed the same as a guy making $110 million. I’m not for higher taxes – not for anyone, but it’s no wonder main street doesn’t have a say in this whole thing. Social Secuirty is a failed program paid for by the poor and middle class, used by the political machine, and designed to make everyone feel okay about it.

Personally, I wish I could opt out.

We may also see a 2% hike in taxes come March 2012. The renmints of the Bush era tax cuts are coming to a close and congress just approved an extension through February. If nothing more is done the rest of us migh see about a 2% total decrease in their take home pay come March. (For a grand total of about 5-6% in 2012) Inflation and taxation – Happy days!

I’m sure my analysis and summary of what’s going to happen is off here and there. You can check it out for yourself here or here.

Greg Mankiw’s Blog

I do my best to say an intelligent thing or two about economic issues with varying degrees of success, but I ran across Harvard Economics professor Greg Mankiw’s Blog and think where my little blog falls short – his picks up the slack.  I wanted to share it here – especially since it affirms a lot of my own beliefs. 🙂

a final plea: Truths you should know & why you SHOULD vote for RON PAUL

I have always tried to be as level headed as possible when it comes to making political decisions.  I am careful not to label myself as a republican or democrat, but rather vote for the person, their principals, and ideas rather than for a political party that I happen to associate myself with.  My core values may align, more often than not, with a certain political party than another, but in general I am open to hearing all thoughts and ideas.

That being said, there is only one candidate I fully endorse this presidential cycle.  That individual is Dr. Ron Paul.  The media, I believe, has done a good job of either ignoring Ron Paul completely or implying that he is some sort of lunatic radical, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Ron Paul is the only candidate, republican or democrat, not representing corporate interests, big government, and promoting freedom and wealth for the people.  He has been doing this for decades, but no one seems to realize it or give him credit for it. 

In fact, I have never been as passionate about any other candidate as I am about Ron Paul. 

Ron Paul predicted, pleaded, and begged congress to listen to him about the coming housing crisis:
For almost a decade before the housing crisis and economic collapse in 2008 congressman Ron Paul pleaded with congress to recognize and reverse the policies in place leading up to and causing the housing bubble and collapse that occurred in 2008.  He is the ONLY person running for president that can say that, but no one talks about it. 

Ron Paul has consistently criticized the artificially low interest rates and unlimited line of credit the federal reserve offers banks allowing them to make risky and unethical loans to home owners in which they cannot afford.  This unlimited line of credit led to a housing bubble, skyrocketing housing prices, people with loans they couldn’t afford, and in 2008 – the crash.  Every other candidate either supported the status quo, made money off it, or both.

Ron Paul is the only candidate for a strong, but peaceful, foreign policy:
Ron Paul has more military contributions than every other presidential candidate COMBINED!  Ever wonder why?  Why does conservative media label his foreign policy extreme and so many men in uniform support Ron Paul?  

I wrote an article a while back about the concept of blowback as related to foreign policy. To understand the logic of Ron Paul’s foreign policy I believe it is paramount to understand what that means.  In short, blowback simply refers to the unintended consequences of the United States’ influence in other countries.  For example, we help put Fidel Castro in power, Suddam Hussein in power, as well as Osama Bin Laden – today those are a few of the biggest perceived threats to all Americans.  It is that type of intervention that seemed to be the right thing at the time that further perpetuates war and security issues.

In any case, Ron Paul advocated a strong national defense without intervening in the business of other countries via force or occupation. That is not isolation, that is just peace.  Dr. Paul supports the strongest possible trade relations with all countries, open discussion, leadership by example, without sending our troops to become the police men of the world.  With military budget about half of the federal government’s spending, $15 trillion in national debt, Ron Paul seems to know something that is all to obvious, but the other candidates find less than profitable to support. 

Ron Paul is also a Navy veteran who proudly served his country in the 1960s. 

Ron Paul is the only candidate who advocates a sound monetary policy:
Does it bother anyone else that the federal reserve prints money at will, that effectively reduces the value of every dollar in our pocket?  They do this without authority, without accountability, and use that money to bail out big businesses – not the people.  Every dollar printed by the federal reserve is a hidden tax on the people.  Those dollars printed go into the pocket of banks and make the dollars in our wallets less valuable.  Those are facts. 

Our currency is a fiat currency.  That means it has no value except for the confidence of consumers.  You can’t take your dollar to the bank and exchange it for any precious medal.  Ron Paul is for a return to the gold standard in an effort to preserve the real value of the dollar, stop the hidden tax on the people, and to promote stability of the US dollar.  In a time when our currency is rapidly in decline world wide – the middle class’ wealth shrinking – why isn’t anyone else concerned with monetary policy?  The other candidates offer more of the same.

Ron Paul is the only candidate that doesn’t represent the Status-Quo:
Americans want change.  That’s a fact.  President Obama ran on it in 2008.  So why aren’t we getting any of what we want – what was promised to us?  Is it a surprise to anyone else that president Obama has a $1 BILLION campaign budget?  That Mitt Romney is supported by the corporations?  Why would the richest people in the world support a candidate that is truly for the people?  Why do they support Obama and Romney?

The answer is simple and it’s not a conspiracy theory.  The corporate interest in this country like the current system, why wouldn’t they, it’s making them rich.  The establishment candidates represent more of the same, the same isn’t working. 

Ron Paul on the other hand does not accept money from lobbyist and is fully supported by generous donations from the people – from pure grassroots campaigning.  Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate I have ever donated to.  The media ignores him, the corporations and lobbyist can’t buy him, to me that says it all.

Ron Paul is honest, consistent, and doesn’t come with all the baggage:
Ron Paul’s voting record, message, and personal life are as consistent and honorable as they come.  It’s almost amazingly so.  He has argued the same message and values for decades – and been right!  Ron Paul has been married to his wife for 54 years, doesn’t flip flop on the issues, and gives straight direct answers to the American people – even if they aren’t popular at the time.  It is this kind of leadership we need to represent the United States and promote and image of integrity.  Ron Paul can do that.

Ron Paul is the only candidate that doesn’t support BIG Government and promotes Liberty:
Almost everyone agrees that we are all better off with certain things – such as education and healthcare; however, almost no one agrees about who should be in charge of providing those services.  I want everyone to have access to healthcare, but I do not want government to be my provider.  The government does not generate revenue – they only tax the people and decide who get’s the benefits.  It is laughable that a government $15 trillion in debt (and rapidly growing), with the biggest and most aggressive military in the world, and that already taxes the people around 40-50% (income tax, sales tax, property tax, etc.), is trusted to provide the people with a service as important as healthcare!  Why do you believe this?

I hear each of the other GOP candidates talk about how they do not support big government – but what do they want to change?  Romney, as Governor of Massachusetts, just a couple of years ago implemented a government run healthcare program that REQUIRED people BY LAW to buy healthcare insurance.  Obama proposes the same type of program nationally.  Sure that seems admirable, but how can you force anyone to purchase a product – not to mention insurance and healthcare costs skyrocketed!  Meanwhile quality suffered.  Newt Gingrich has been a government employee for decades and has NEVER done a thing to minimize the size of government, why would he start now?

Ron Paul is the only candidate that supports personal liberty and small government.  His voting record is perfect, he has never supported a program that expands the size of government.  He promotes plans and systems that will HELP THE POOREST in this country and still promote wealth for every individual.  I beg you to research this issue in a non-biased manner.  Come to your own conclusions!

In summary:
Look, I’ll be honest, going against the status quo is tough.  It means researching a variety of complex topics, it means often times coming to your own conclusions, it means not always accepting the conventional wisdom.  I beg you to look at the facts – do your homework – overcome your political apathy and distaste for the idea that it’s all just more of the same.  We really are amongst a revolution, but it has to come from the people – we are the people.

an intellectually honest discussion: HIGHER TAXES DOESN’T ADDRESS WEALTH INEQUALITY

No – this isn’t going to be another conservative defense of “trickle down” economics.  My opposition to additional taxes has nothing to do with my desire to further sheild the rich from taxes in hopes that they may use that extra money in a way that will somehow benefit the rest of us.  Rather my oposition to taxes is a logical oposition to government and my lack of confidence in its ability or desire to use taxes to benefit the people.

We are a country with $15 trillion of national debt and growing.  We could increase the tax rate to 100% and still not pay that amount off in the next century.  The income the government does recieve is spent on an already bloated military to further expand our empire.  The military industiral complex, the corporations, and the politicians are the beneficiaries – NOT the people and especially not the poor.  Who are we kidding?

Perhaps an argument for higher taxes is based on good intentions, but it’s an illogical argument at best.  Those who argue for higher taxes are either in denial or totally ignorant of the government they trust.  People were disgusted with Mitt Romney’s astronomical income and seemingly low tax rat of 15% (still higher than 80% of America’s tax rate).  They ignore that Romney also gave about $7 million dollars to charity (about 15% of his income).  Who among us can say that?  I’m not defending Mitt Romney, but the point that I am trying to make is that charitable donations are far more efficient and effective in addressing the income inequality than giving more money to a government that has already shown they can’t be trusted to manage wealth.

Conservatives get a lot of grief for their distaste for taxes and government social programs.  Often getting the label of greedy and not understanding or empathizing with the poor, but I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding of why fiscal conservatives think this way.  It is not our desire to keep the money from the poor and needy, but rather our desire to keep the money AWAY from the government.  A belief that additional taxes would be used to help anyone is a fallacy.  Additional taxes only serve to further chip away at the liberty of every American, expand our empire, wage wars, and pad the pockets of corporate politicians and lobbyist. 

If anything, higher taxes only kill the poor by aiding the government to wage and fund wars – where the poorest of our sons go to their slaughter to settle the agenda of the elite in this country.  Don’t be fooled – this is the cold sad truth – the faster we recognize it the faster we can change our way of thinking.  We can stop expecting the government to take care of us and our poor, we can stop passing the buck to our government, and take responsibility for this situation ourselves.  Lower taxes empower the people, not the super-rich. 

Warren Buffet once wrote a very popular article saying he wouldn’t mind being taxed more – I say keep the taxes – if you want to give more of your money – give it to a charity where it can be much better utilized.  His article was a brillian PR stunt, but a fantacy.  When has any rich man ever had a problem finding a way to give more of his money away?  If the government does’t want to take it – there are an infinite number of organizations who will.  If anything, his article was a perfect example of our over reliance on the government.

Look folks, the government already takes about 50% of our income (income tax, property tax, sales tax, etc.).  If they can’t make ends meet with half of the country’s wealth then they aren’t doing something right.  The answer is far more simple and MORAL than raising taxes.  Stop waging war, stop expanding the empire, and spend that money on the people who need it.  The country would be that much more peaceful and well fed.

who will save us? the rich or the government? NEITHER!

Last night I had dinner with a few of the “most important” people in the region for our company.  Basically, I was sitting next to a few of my company’s leadership and making small talk for two hours while eating over priced, but delicious, Italian food.  Just based on the conversation at certain points I realized that despite where the individuals may have “come from” they have completely forgotten what it’s like to have an average income – or especially poor. 

It wasn’t that many years ago I was living at home with my parents, receiving free lunch at school, taking my mom to the doctor on her Medicaid insurance, and working doubles on the weekends so I could afford insurance and gas.  I’m not complaining – I didn’t even realize that wasn’t normal at the time.  I mean, had you asked anyone of my friends it I was completely normal.  Working builds character and hardship teaches lessons – even if you don’t even realize you are learning a single thing at the time. 

Anyways, back to the rich guys at dinner.  They were dropping topics like “lake house”, “sending my child to private school”, etc.  Their problems didn’t seem to be issues that regular people deal with – although I am sure to them they were.  Poor people worry about keeping the heat on in the winter, worry about their friends judging them because they get free lunch at school – the rich worry about their “insurance going up on the jet ski at their lake house” (real conversation). 

All this made me think about one thing – the empathy gap.  As you may or may not know I am highly against government interventionism and taxation, but I have to wonder how the poor – the real poor – would get by without government social programs.  Could we depend on the rich to be charitable to a group of people they blatantly do not understand – can’t begin to empathize with?  I doubt it.

Of course the current system is flawed, I hate it in fact.  People abuse the system, the government programs give people incentive to become welfare babies and grow dependent on those resources.  However, what is the solution?  How do we take care of the poor and needy in this country and still minimize abuse of the system, maximize personal liberty, and minimize government taxation and involvement in the rest of our lives? 

I have to believe that due to the amount of bureaucracy, politics, abuse, and general lack of efficiency that any government is not the best way to redistribute wealth – but what is the solution?  I certainly do not claim to have the answer. 

Republicans may say let the rich keep their money and the wealth will “trickle down”.  Democrats might laugh at that idea and push for higher taxes and more social programs to “redistribute the wealth.”  I’m not sure that either of those all so common solutions will solve anything for a hard working mother that can’t make ends meet. 

I know two things: 1. We can’t rely on the rich to be generous or understanding enough to take care of the poor, and 2. This country can’t afford more failing social programs and higher taxes.

So, it seems, we need answers.  We need change.  We need ideas.  We need leadership not tied to the corporate or political agendas.  In the mean time, if you can, be charitable.  We can’t rely on anyone else – not the rich and not the government – to do the right thing.

Noble Lie – immorality in the US government

I ran accross this quote last night in a book I was reading regarding the immorality in a noble lie. In this case it is the lie the Government sales us in regard to the dangers we face from things like drugs or terrorism used to justifying our ongoing wars and liberty infringing legislation.

From “Liberty Defined” by Ron Paul:

Hermann Goering, second in charge to Hitler, had an even more cynical understanding of how to use lying and patriotism. Goering said from his prison cell in Nuemburg in 1964, as recorded by G.M. Gilbert in his Nuremberg Diary:

“Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a communist dictatorship…that is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifist for lack of patriotism and expose the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

Does that tactic sound familiar to anyone else residing in the U.S.?  Do we justify a noble lie sold to us by the elites of the country if they believe it is “best for the people and the country”?  Or should the people decide for themselves?  I believe the anser is the latter.

the funny thing about TRUTH

When I first created this blog “BlogTruth” I intended to write all about the truths of the world. I guess to really “set the record straight” for anyone reading and also for myself. Truth is a funny thing though, it’s slippery and really hard to get you hands on. Deceptively hard in fact. I wanted to talk about politics, religion, problems, and present solutions – and to a large degree I have really tried (to varying degrees of success) on a lot of different topics. The more I write and question my own beliefs, others beliefs, and forced to articulate my own ideas the more complex I realize EVERYTHING really is.

People are shaped by their individual experiences to such an extent that every idea and our own sense of morality can be skewed. I mean – what’s really right? For example, politically, people support the candidate that they think will be best for the country – but someone is wrong. Are conservatives wrong because they believe in one thing or are progressives right because they believe in another. Social programs, capitalism, taxes, religion, etc. What each person believes about these subjects is based on one’s own belief on the subject. Their own personal truth. But we all know everyone can’t be right – someone’s truth isn’t true.

I think real truth is found by the person who has the ability to look beyond their own experiences, which skew their opinions, and come to an unbiased conclusion based on fact. Is that really possible? No. Sure some people will be better at doing this than others – I myself try to interpret the world based on fact not emotion, but I know that my own personal experiences shape my beliefs. So what do we do? How do we determine what is true?

I’m still trying to figure that part out.